Monday, December 14, 2009

The Regret Brought on by Feminism, in the Eyes of a 60 Year Old Woman

I hadn't spent time with my parents in a long time up until very recently. We're not estranged or anything. We have a very loving and friendly family; simply I have been busy being an adult and living my life. My parents are fucked-up people, like most people, and like most Boomers parents they gave me some weird notions about men and women, but they are good at heart and I am way past the point in my life where I worry about things like that.

Anyway, in the course of spending a couple weeks in close proximity to my beloved family, I had some interesting discussions with my dear mother. I think she has always assumed that I would get married... certainly in the past I talked about it from time to time. Well, several years have passed since we truly talked about that kind of thing, and I think I surprised her with how much I have changed. I surprised myself, actually. Having a discussion with a long-lost family member is almost like having a discussion with a past version of your self.

Having just returned from Africa and Europe recently, I dropped a casual remark about how American women move like battleships. She said, "You mentioned that the other day, too."

"Really?" I said. I genuinely didn't recall saying that, though I don't doubt I did. It's become such a casual, throw-away observation for me that saying it in no way stands out in my mind. But my mother is used to the classic pedestalizing that's only functional in a patriarchal society, that such comments stick out in her mind, I suppose.

But she's not totally blind to how things have changed. My mother may be in her 60's, but she's not stupid. She recently told me a story about a girl I went to high school with, let's call her "Heather." Heather was pretty hot back in the day, if I recall. I fully expect that she turned out to be a good-looking adult woman, but I haven't seen a picture. My mother brought her up because she's "going through a divorce."

(Incidentally, you have to love the shameless dodging of all responsibility inherent in that passive voice construction, "going through a divorce." As if it were something thrust upon you by an outside entity. You "go through" an IRS audit. You don't "go through" a divorce. You choose it.)

Heather and her husband have been married for less than two years. She's taking the house they bought with his money and, of course, alimony. When my mother told me this story I couldn't hide my contempt. I basically spouted off about how marriage was a terrible, terrible idea for a man in the United States for precisely that reason.

My mother gave me a somewhat concerned look, as if she agreed, but did not want to fully confront what I was saying. "But, Dogen, don't you think it just shows how important it is to pick the right woman?"

I shook my head sadly. I didn't want to lay the full force of my opinion on my poor, aging mother. I just told her that everyone thinks they have found the "right person," and it's foolish to assume you must be the exception. Besides, I do believe my mother once encouraged me to ask this Heather girl out because she "seemed sweet." And besides, I told her, American women don't know how to cook or clean; they don't know how to be sweet and genuine; and they are generally sluts (I phrased that part a little more gingerly); and yes, they move like battleships.

She countered that it's because "women in this country have more equality," (implying of course, that women in other countries must live under the boot of patriarchal tyranny).

I said, "No, not more equality. That's the official version. But really, it just means that they are more like men and less like women."

"Well," she said, "women are expected to act like men. They have to. They have to work in the business world and stuff. People need two incomes to get by today." (My mother worked full time most of her adult life in addition to raising four kids — of course my Dad worked and raised the kids, too.)

"They brought that on themselves, Mom. That wasn't the case for most of Western history up until about 30 years ago. Women wanted it to be this way, so they got it."

My mom got that miffed expression I know so well that means she doesn't want to talk about it anymore. But she added, "Some women wanted that. The loud ones. A lot of us would have been perfectly happy to raise our kids and love our husbands."

I let the topic go. I didn't want to make my mom any sadder than she was. But the way she said it nearly broke my heart. This is the awful world we have created, where people are afraid to make the choices that should make them most happy, because it's not "equal" enough. My mother's own generation victimized her — though to a degree, of course, she took part in it. It's never totally black and white. But to hear my mother say that, to see the sad expression in her eyes, filled me with sadness and with contempt for all the misery brought about in the name of "equality."

Vee must all suffer in zee name of eqvality. YOU VILL BE EQVAL!!!

23 comments:

  1. Gotta love how "equal" the family court system is...

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  2. This is touching because I guess that your mom (just like mine) really wants grandchildren. Their sons' doubts about marriage get translated into a vision of their old age without a younger generation to look after.

    My parents are well aware of the issues. My Dad has raised me with the stern advice to not marry before age 35, and always bragged about his choice of woman. My mother is 10 years prior his age, slim, devoted and a school teacher who decided to drop grad school for the sake of her family. She has the higher degree and made a good part of the family income, yet any major decisions were always made by my Dad. They are married for more than 25 years now.

    I know my parents feel that they made the best of the difficult situation we all face by having my mother work half time. My Dad likes to joke that "the stupidest things men have ever done was to invent the dishwasher". He felt that the lack of household chores left women with too much time and money to spend on silly things such as self help seminars and spas - or the mailman (as he would put it).

    There are girls of our age that actually see things similarly (i.e. "some of us would be entirely happy with kids and a caring husband"). Yet, that alone doesn't help.

    There is another lesson I learned from my Dad. When gossiping about the broken marriage of a friend of his, he once smilingly recounted that guy's after dinner lamentation:
    "I simply cannot afford getting a divorce! Not because I am too poor. But because I am too rich."

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  3. Interesting how you put that last sentence in German phonetics. Come to Germany and you'll find millions of women who still manage to be feminine, beautiful, desirable, and yes, quite equal in the working world. I ought to know - I married one. Yes, there are people out there with marriages that work, despite what you so-called alphas tell yourselves. Too bad you Americans look around and see only "battleships" walking around. I think a lot of that has to do with the garbage you stuff yourselves with, but that's another story.

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  4. ian, i think the by moving like battleships he meant that they have no grace, no feminine allure, not that they are fat. But most are fat too

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  5. @11minutes:

    My younger sister is the first one of the four of us to get married. We fully expect grandchildren within the year. (One irony is that she married a foreign guy... a stand-up guy that I totally approve of, incidentally). But in a general sense you are right... my mother wants to see me procreate. It's only natural.

    @ian: touché. That's a tired old gag, I know, doing the whole Nazi-German intonation when trying to invoke a strict, heartless character. But it gets the point across, like most good clichés. With all due respect for the esteemed 11minutes and for you and the Germans all around you, if the Germans didn't want to have that joke made about them, they probably shouldn't have acted like such colossal assholes and managed to piss off all the world and get their asses handed to them on a B-52. Actions have consequences. (I was just thinking today about the prevalence of the Spanish language and how it's basically the least bastardized of Latin languages, even counting Italian. The Romans built all that empire and culture and we all love to point out how they eventually fell... but good God... look at the upper class of any Latin American culture. They are basically the direct descendants of the Roman legions, still speaking their language and fucking all the local women 2000 years later.)

    And I have been to Germany. I'm happy you have found true love with your wife, and I would never take that away from a fellow man. But if you think that the average German woman is a shining example of femininity, all I can say is that's a sad commentary on how far standards have fallen.

    @Lee: Yes, you are right. I was referring more to their lack of grace than their actual size. Though of course the fatness of American women repulses me too.

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  6. PS:

    Ian... how long you been married, brother? Made it past the 7-year itch yet? Or do you just KNOW that you and your wife are the magic exception?

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  7. I don't know your mother, but it sounds like the classic amoral whine and dissembling of a woman who is realising she's not gonna get what she wants and that constitutes "injustice" and thus feels sorry for herself.

    I personally have no sympathy with boomers. They wrecked our economy, wrecked our culture, and treacherously sold us out to foreign enemies. Now that the comeuppance is arriving sooner than expected, they still expect to palm all the costs onto the younger generation.

    Sure, not many of them were actively creating this situtation but most stood by and gave it moral support.

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  8. I have the same opinion as krauser. In addition I find 11minutes extremely lucky to have a father wich is actually a good male model, for a boomer. Mine is more pussywhipped than my mother.

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  9. My mistake, last phrase is a pleonasm.

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  10. But if you think that the average German woman is a shining example of femininity, all I can say is that's a sad commentary on how far standards have fallen.

    Amen to that. Feminism, just like any other form of liberal ideology had a much greater impact on German culture than here in the US. The pressure on women to behave like men is much more intense ("Hausfrau" is a very derogatory term).

    The German divorce rate is still somewhat lower than that in the US, but the gap is closing quick (despite the greater number of non-married couples).

    I have many friends in Germany. As much as I like them, almost all of the women fit the "fuck-around-until-the-boobs-get-saggy-then-get-a-weak-guy-and-have-kids" stereotype 100%.

    Just out of curiosity:
    Ian, why do you keep coming back to this and other blogs when you disagree with it so much? For a man in a happy marriage you seem to have an awful lot of free time...

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  11. this takes me back.....to so many convo's with my mom. My mom hedged her bet, b/c of my **** she can still bet on grandkids while encouraging me to put off marriage as long as possble. my mom's one of those that wholly admits the fallacy of pedestalling women and always reminds me to play it safe and keep my own interests first, b/c no one else will (other than moms of course :)

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  12. You guys have it made - Just pointing fingers left and right! If you are not successful and/or healthy, blame it on your parents and their parenthood skills or the lack of. After all "They wrecked our economy, wrecked our culture (really?), and treacherously sold us out to foreign enemies" and of course while they were deliberately doing that they had no time to teach you all of the alpha trades that their parents taught them. <- sarcasm, just in case.
    If your personal life is not where you thought you'd be by now, women are completely responsible for that.

    On a serious note - stop finding someone to blame for all that there's to go wrong in the world. You think that your parents deliberately created you and sent you out to fail? Thus, now you are the way you are is because of them? Now that's beta!!!

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  13. @ Anonymous - Reflecting on who you are, why you are the way you are and if you really want to stay that way or take action for a change takes some balls, guts and intelligence, but I highly recommend trying it.

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  14. @ 11 - I agree and support the idea of reflecting, analyzing, changes and reinventing yourself! I just think that can be done without pointing fingers. My post was more or a less a reply to the Krauser's post.

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  15. I only blame the boomers. I hold the previous generations in high regard. They built capitalism, they accumulated the capital that allows each unit of my generation's labour to be so much more productive, they put in place the checks and balances that eked out a tiny window of freedom in the long history of human bondage.

    Then the boomers ruined it.

    Just because they caused all those problems, doesn't mean they caused all MY problems. And regardless of who caused them, I'm fixing the stuff in my life that is possible to fix.

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  16. My mom often wonders when I am going to settle down and find a nice woman. I often joke with her that I find one or two every month. My dad is old school and believes that you can work hard with a woman and eventully be happy. He is retired and sits on the internet all day doing nothing. My mom works 50hrs a week in a job she loves. She cooks, cleans, does the laundry and grocery shops. She is lucky if my dad helps around the house. The point of this story is, my mom is happy at work and likes to come home and take care of her man, my dad. My dad is probally happy that she works and leaves the house everyday. This gives him freedom but when she comes home he can say where is my fucking sandwhich or do some laundry. She works hard but manages to make him feel like a man and keep the man woman thing going on.

    I often laugh at my friends who work 40-50 hrs per week and have stay at home wives. I ask them what does she do all day and they tell me she takes care of the kids blah blah. Then I when I say lets play ball after work they tell me oh no I have to clean the house etc. I often wonder what does your stay at home wife do all day while your at work.

    American Women have ruined marriage and the American dream for American Males..

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  17. "I often laugh at my friends who work 40-50 hrs per week and have stay at home wives. I ask them what does she do all day ..."


    Homeschool

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  18. I hear this sort of subtle lament from older women as well. Sometimes it comes out when they see younger women having problems finding a "good man" as well.

    Also, about men with stay-at-home wives who have to go home and help out after work... I know women like this. Nice to see others recognize the dichotomy as well. Some of these women complain about how much work it is to clean the entire big X000 sq ft home..."So much, so tiring." Unless these women are "working" as volunteers organizing fundraisers and grant proposals, heading their children's PTA, etc. I'm not sure if that's valid. When you have lots of time to spare you tend to make inefficient use of that time.

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  20. Sounds like Anon is feeling a little guilty.

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  21. Feminist women "regretting" the harm that feminism has done... Crocodile tears... Sorry, I have no sympathy.

    I spit on them as I spit on the more self-assured feminist.

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